Palo Alto-based Nest Labs reportedly plans to dip its toes into the smoke detector market, a market currently populated by birds, moths, and irritating/unattractive/barely functional/disengaged dinosaurs, according to a flood of news coming out of Silicon Valley today.

Nest Labs, of course, is the Tony Fadell-led startup responsible for launching the Nest Learning Thermostat nearly two years ago and has since been lavished with acclaim and a slew of “S” adjectives normally not used to described programmable household thermostats: sleek, stylish, smart, and sexy (Fadell, by the way, is the Apple design expat/tech demigod who introduced the world to the original iPod). Less than a year later, Nest Labs launched a second generation Nest Learning Thermostat featuring a streamlined profile and an array of new features geared to help users effortlessly save on energy costs without sacrificing a soupçon of comfort. And like any mega-brainy household helper, the new and improved Nest was also trilingual. Even more recently, Nest Labs has partnered with various regional utility companies on rebate programs geared to help users save even more on monthly energy bills.

Now, almost a full two years since the original Nest positively shook up the thermostat market, it appears that Fadell and co. are itching for a chance to apply all those spicy “S” adjectives to household smoke detectors, a compulsory household staple that’s long been overlooked in the design and innovation departments. Sure, they’re lifesavers but they’re also incredibly mundane and unimaginative ... just like thermostats were before the Nest came around and transformed them into covetable energy-saving gizmos.

While details are still thin at this point, anonymous sources have told former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin that the new device, like the Nest Thermostat, can be controlled via smartphone, tablet, or PC. Rumored to be called Protect, the smoke detector will communicate with the Nest and alert users in the event of fire, an increase of carbon monoxide levels, or when you’ve burnt your toast. It may also boast hands-free functionality.

Again, Nest Labs has declined to comment on the development of a younger sibling that could potentially be joining the company's revolutionary thermostat so no price tag, release date, etc. is available at this point. I’ll keep you posted if and when this all becomes official. 

Via [Wired], [SmartPlanet]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Is Nest Labs plotting to bring smarts, sexiness to smoke detectors?
If the rumors are true, the Nest Thermostat may be getting an equally smart sibling in the form of a dramatically revamped household smoke detector.